Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Recapping the Yankees Postseason History: The 1997 Season

You know I was only going to recap the positives in the Yankees postseason while I skipped around all the losing seasons for the World Series winning seasons but you know what? The Yankees history is both good and bad, just more good than any other team in Major League Baseball history, so let’s head back a season to 1997. The first season I truly felt heartbreak.

You have to remember I was born in November of 1985. My first “experience” of baseball was the 1986 season and my first true memories of baseball were in 1994. The Yankees were “the best” in 1994 but it didn’t truly register with me that the World Series had been canceled and what that truly meant. I just thought “oh, baseball is over. Time to go outside and play with my friends again.” I was naïve. I was still naïve in 1997, just 11 years old when this all went down, but I truly felt heartbreak when the team squared off with the Cleveland Indians.

Mariano Rivera blows the save and the Yankees lose the series. No back-to-back World Series championships for the Bombers and I'm outside playing with my friends a lot earlier than I had hoped. So is life I guess. 

Quick Hit: The Idea of an International Draft in the New CBA

The Collective Bargaining Agreement that keeps the players on the field, the fans in the seats and the pockets of the owners very, very healthy is set to expire a few short days after the season ends and for a few months now the players union and the league have been meeting trying to hammer out a deal. By all accounts it seems like a new deal will ultimately get done but there may be more than a few new changes and tweaks to the game when it’s all said and done. One aspect of the game that is expected to change is the luxury tax threshold which is expected to rise to or above the $200 million mark while another bit of news was released this week as well regarding the possibility of an international draft.

While nothing is set in stone preliminary talks have suggested that a international draft system would start as soon as March of 2018 with 10 rounds of draft picks being taken in two days. The minimum age for draft-eligible players would be 18-years old by 2021 with the current group of eligible players grandfathered in despite their age.

This should not come as a shock to anyone and no one should think this will necessary hurt the Yankees in any way. The team has had some success on the international market but with the spending penalties and restrictions put on the team after their international haul from a few years back it will likely benefit teams like the Yankees in the long run and not hurt them as much. That’s my opinion anyway.

Regardless of what I think it looks like an international draft is coming and for some it isn’t coming a moment too soon. For others, well maybe they aren’t as happy about the idea. Oh well, such is life. I personally like the idea of it all. Signing IFA’s is so much of a crap shoot it’s beyond ridiculous, at least MLB can somewhat monitor who is being signed now. 

Arizona Fall League Weekly Check In: James Kaprielian

Ladies and gentleman we’re back and this time it is the pitching that will take the limelight. With our first two weekly check in posts from the Arizona Fall League we checked in with the Yankees probable first baseman for the 2016 season and their possible shortstop or second baseman of the future, what about their future potential ace though?

As we all know by now Kaprielian’s regular season was cut short due to an elbow injury and the righty has worked his way all the way back for New York finally down in Arizona. Kaprielian’s first start didn’t show many signs of conditioning, fatigue or rust as he was as dominant as he was when he went on the disabled list which is a great sign for New York.

With a couple appearances under his belt for the Scottsdale Scorpions this is what his Arizona Fall League stat line looks like right now. This is one we will be keeping an eye on closely as Kaprielian seems to fit into the Yankees 2017 big league plans and beyond.

Stay tuned. 

Kaprielian has thrown three innings in his sole start of the AFL season and he allowed just one hit with six strikeouts in the contest. Very good progress for someone who has basically missed the entire 2016 regular season. 

Bring Me Greg Holland

I said this last September when he threw his last pitch in the Major Leagues. I said it again sometime this season when the Yankees were struggling. I’ll say it again today. Bring me Greg Holland. If you don’t remember the name Greg Holland let me remind you. Holland was the closer for the Kansas City Royals that underwent Tommy John surgery after being one of the most dominant relievers in all of Major League Baseball from 2012 through 2015. Holland is not quite back yet after his September, 2015 surgery but will likely be ready for at least spring training 2017. Should the Yankees take a waiver? I say yes.

As much as it’s fun to dream about the Yankees signing Kenley Jansen or Aroldis Chapman I find it unlikely that Brian Cashman will want to or be allowed to give a pitcher in the neighborhood of $15 million this offseason as long as Hal Steinbrenner still owns the team. With that said Cashman may have to get creative this winter and that may bring him to the man that had a 2.42 ERA, 12.1 K/9 ratio and 145 saves from 2012 to 2015.

Holland is a proven closer, a veteran arm and an arm that has led a team to the World Series. Being postseason proven is a big thing in New York, especially with the Yankees, and a stat nor a number can be put on that sort of experience. Well in my opinion, Holland will likely try to put a number, more so a dollar amount, on that experience if and when he decides to sign this winter. It’s anyone’s guess how much he would sign for or where he would sign but I’m guessing a base salary of a few million ($5 million is likely pushing it but the base salary may separate teams like the Yankees from the team he is familiar with in Kansas City) with incentives may get the job done. Add a second year mutual option to sweeten the pot if necessary.

The Yankees have done similar deals with David Aardsma, Andrew Bailey, Jon Lieber and others in the past and they do so again this offseason with Holland. Get it done Cash, get it done.

Arizona Fall League Weekly Check In: Gleyber Torres

On Monday we checked in with Greg Bird down in the Arizona Fall League as he continues to progress from his shoulder surgery that he had during spring training this season and yesterday we should have checked in with this man, Gleyber Torres, but we didn’t. We’ll make up for that today with a double dose of check in posts with the first going to Torres.

As you know Torres was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in a mid-season trade involving Aroldis Chapman and has joined a healthy stable of middle infielders in the Yankees farm system. Torres may be the best of the bunch though pushing fellow Scottsdale Scorpions and Yankees prospects like Tyler Wade to the outfield.

The Yankees wanted to see more of Torres and this is what they’ve seen thus far from their new star shortstop prospect. 

.250/.308/.583/.891 in three games and 12 at bats including his first home run yesterday afternoon. Torres has two RBI to go along with his home run and impressive triple slash numbers. I say impressive because there aren't many players in A-Ball down in Arizona right now so this is advanced talent he's facing every single at bat. 

MLB Postseason Schedule for 10/19/16

My apologies for the lack of content on the site yesterday. In the immortal words of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, “I needed a day.” I’m back, I’m still alive and you can call off the search parties for me. I’m here. Let’s get back to business and see what is going on in the world of the MLB Playoffs tonight. Hopefully I didn’t miss too awful much.

Cleveland Indians @ Toronto Blue Jays (Game 5 if necessary) – 4:08 pm ET on TBS and TSN

Chicago Cubs @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 4) – 8:08 pm ET on Fox Sports One

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/19: Freddy Sez

On this day in 2010 the Yankees paid tribute to long time fan Freddy Schuman after he had been coming to Yankees games since 1988. Schuman was known for banging his spoon on a skillet and his catchy signs in the stands. The Yankees held a moment of silence before Game 4 of the ALCS and showcased Schuman memorabilia in Gate 4 at Yankees Stadium. "Freddy Sez" will always be remembered by the Yankees fans and by Yankees Stadium.

Also on this day in 2007 manager Joe Torre rejected the Yankees offer to come back and manage the team on a pay cut ending his Yankees career. Torre managed for 12 seasons and saw 12 postseason appearances, 10 AL East titles, six American League pennants, and four World Series championships.

Also on this day in 2004 all Yankees fans remember hearing the FOX announcing crew talking about Curt Schilling and his bloody sock. The Red Sox became the first team to ever be down three games to none in the ALCS and be three outs away from elimination to force a Game 7. Also on this day in 2004 we saw the Alex Rodriguez slapping of the ball stunt that cost the Yankees a run and probably a rally in the Game 6 loss.

Finally on this day in 1987 the Yankees hired Billy Martin to be their manager for the fifth and final time under George Steinbrenner. Billy would make it until June 23rd and finish his Yankees managing career with a 559-385 (.591) that saw two American League pennants and a World Series title in eight seasons.